Electric Avenue by DesertPlanet
Summary: Following the disasterous Third Task, Harry begins to notice two things about himself. First: his appearence has begun to change. Second: something is very very wrong. The Cruciatus shouldn't continue to be causing him pain this far out from having received it, should it?
Categories: Parental Snape > Biological Father Snape > Severitus Challenge Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Draco, Remus
Snape Flavour: Kind Snape
Genres: Angst, Family, Hurt/Comfort, Mystery
Tags: Disguised!Harry, Injured!Harry, New Identity!Harry, Physical Impairment
Takes Place: 5th summer, 5th Year
Warnings: Neglect, Out of Character
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 44 Completed: No Word count: 191134 Read: 197507 Published: 08 Jan 2021 Updated: 12 Nov 2021
Chapter 7 by DesertPlanet
Albus Dumbledore was in a situation he never thought possible. He had had a long and successful career as an educator and headmaster at Hogwarts and remembered every student who passed through her doors during his tenure. Unless actively attempting to evade detection, he could easily find most every one of them. A few quick charms and a look at his multitude of magical devices and he could quickly pinpoint their location.

So where in Merlin’s name was Harry Potter?

A visit to his aunt and uncle's house had proven fruitless as they had been thoroughly engrossed in a television show at the time of the boy’s disappearance. Apparently he had been out on the lawn doing yard work not long before he disappeared, though there was little evidence of foul play. A few drops of blood, enough to warrant suspicion, but not enough to give any vital information.

Had it not been for the wards notifying him that Harry had left, he likely wouldn’t have checked on the boy. Nothing had indicated any life threatening illness or injuries, nor had there been any magical bursts of activity. From Dumbledore’s view, he was as safe as he could be, so why leave the wards?

Vernon and Petunia Dursley were not saints, but they were doing well in raising the boy to be humble, fiercely independent, and not at all self-centered. Keeping the boy out of the wizarding world had been a controversial idea, but no one could argue the benefits of keeping him with blood relatives. They had kept him safe, they had fed him, clothed him, and made sure he was educated. They had met all of the basic requirements of being his guardians and had prevented him from becoming spoiled or having his fame go to his head. The money they received each month was more than compensation for raising the most famous child in the magical world.

Harry knew the risks of leaving the wards, so where could he have gone? And how was he managing to evade detection?

Finding him and getting him home was now a priority.

Severus took a deep breath as he stood in front of the door to the boy’s hospital room. He wasn’t nervous about seeing the boy, however he was concerned for his mental state. What would he think when he saw his most hated professor standing in the doorway? Had he even had time to process the letters before his hospitalization? Had he even read the letters?

Nurse Morgan had warned him that Harry seemed to have some memory loss and confusion following his seizures beyond what was considered normal, but that ‘tests’ were being run to determine if there was a more sinister cause. What had the boy said? Was anything he said able to be taken as truth?

Was there a magical cause to these seizures or were they just an effect of the potion breaking down? Severus doubted very much the potion itself was the root cause, it’s ingredients were much too stable to cause such an issue, but could it have masked a neurologic defect he should have grown into and up with? It was entirely possible, though equally unlikely.

“Nervous?” Morgan asked, sitting at the desk between her two rooms and peering through the windows at both her patients‘ vital signs monitors. “It looks like he’s just resting right now. You’re good to go in.”

Severus huffed in exasperation before opening the door. He wasn’t nervous, he just didn’t want to make the boy angry and potentially have to deal with teenage levels of accidental magic. Not that he could explain that to the muggle nurse watching him.

Pushing open the door, Severus very nearly reeled back in shock. He had been warned that the boy was hooked up to a few machines to help monitor his status, but this… this was excessive. A screen hung from a pillar in the corner of the room with several wires attaching to the boy's chest. Multiple bags of fluid hung from a wheeled, metal pole and were attached to small, whirring machines which had the names of various muggle medications labeled on them. From these machines, clear tubes travelled to what appeared to be needles in the boys arms delivering the muggle medications in controlled rates. Most shockingly though was the large device with what seemed to be a camera on it which had a long cord attached to a large bundle of wires traveling from its machine to various points on the boy's head.

But the boy in the bed was almost more shocking than the machines. Had Severus seen him wandering through Diagon Alley, he would never have assumed this boy was Harry Potter. Despite all of the wires in his hair, it was obvious that this was not the Potter hair he had come to know. It was still rather short, though it was no longer the unkempt mess, and rather than being its usual, simple black, it now appeared to have an almost copper undertone.

His face, too, was strikingly different. Gone were the round cheeks and ski-slope nose of James Potter, replaced instead with rather high cheekbones, thin cheeks, and a straight nose which resembled that of his mother’s. His chin and jaw were also more chiseled and covered in the barest amount of stubble.

A line of sutures ran across the right side of his forehead, with bruising beginning to appear around the wound. The scar for which he was famous appeared to have been partially removed by whatever had caused the injury to his head. Small abrasions covered his cheeks and hands, making it appear as though he had skidded across the ground.

“Merlin, Potter,” Severus said under his breath. “You never do things halfway, do you?”

“Sn-n-n-ape?” Harry stuttered, shakily lifting his head and looking at the man. “What-t-t are y-y-you d-d-doing here?”

Snape cleared his throat and sat rather awkwardly on the chair which was placed by the head of the bed. Nurse Morgan had said that his short-term memory was rather poor, but perhaps he simply hadn’t had the chance to read the letters yet. He didn’t sound overly angry, just confused instead.

“Mr. Potter,” Severus said stiffly. “Do you know where you are?”

“Y-y-yeah, ‘m at the h-h-h-hospit-t-al,” Harry said, voice jumping as his throat continued to twitch. He then frowned and looked at his arms in confusion, as though confused as to how they had gotten there. “N-n-n-n-not St. M-m-mungo’s?”

“You are correct. You are not at St. Mungo’s,” Severus said quietly, wanting to put up a silencing spell, but knowing Nurse Morgan would be suspicious if she suddenly couldn’t hear anything they were discussing. “You are at a muggle hospital in London. Do you know how you got here?”

“A-ambul-l-lance? I had-d-d a f-f-fit,” Harry said, continuing to look at his arms in confusion. Who’s arms were they? His were never that pale. Even in the winter, he still had a rather healthy tan to him. He could feel them move and twitch, but they looked wrong. They were too long, first of all, and even his fingers seemed to be longer than before.

“Do you remember anything before you had your fit?” Severus asked calmly, trying to make a timeline of events.

“I g-got t-t-t-t-two letters-s,” Harry said, blearily looking around the room. His head felt heavy and as though it were in a fog. “Wh-wh-where’s M-m-m-mad-dam P-pomfr-rey?”

“You’re at a muggle hospital, Potter,” Severus said, a tinge of worry lapping at his conscience. Why was the boy so confused? It wasn’t as though he had just arrived, he must have been there for several hours. “Did you read the letters?”

“N-n-n-no,” Harry said, shifting in the bed slightly in an effort to try and get more comfortable. His back was starting to ache again and his legs were feeling tight. He wished he could get up and go for a walk, but he didn’t think he’d make it very far with how bleary his head was feeling. “D-d-d-did more c-c-c-come? Uncle V-v-v-vernon-n w-won’t like that-t.”

“No, Potter. What did you do with them?” Severus said, filing that response away for later questioning. Why would he be so concerned about the number of letters he was receiving? When had he received so many letters from someone that even in a slightly delirious state he was worried about it?

“P-p-p-p-p-pocket-t?” Harry said, frowning as he struggled with the word. When did speaking become so difficult? “They c-cursed?”

“No, far from it. They were sent by your mother and ... father prior to your birth,” Severus explained stiffly, trying not to sneer when mentioning James Potter in passing. “I received these letters as well.”

“What-t?” Harry exclaimed loudly. “Why?!”

“I would prefer for you to read them on your own.”

Harry grumbled a bit, shifting once more in the bed and reaching up to itch his head. When did he… oh, right… EEG. His brain felt so muddled and his eyes felt out of focus constantly, even if he had his glasses on. Would he be able to read a letter? Probably not, if he were being honest. He wanted to, but he was also afraid of what information they could possibly contain. If it was sensitive information, he didn’t want to read it while he was feeling so foggy and with lapses in his memory.

“C-can’t. N-need-d new g-g-glasses. Why’d y-you get-t-t them-m?”

Severus blinked in a moment of confusion. Of course the boy would need new glasses. Neither he nor Lily had needed them, so the chances their son would were very low. The social worker had also said the boy claimed the glasses he had had been obtained from a donation bin and weren’t the correct prescription for him. Undoubtedly the glasses he had now would have been causing more harm than good, the question was if the boy would need to have glasses at all.

“I played a rather… crucial role in the situation which led to the necessity of the letters.”

Harry frowned at the thought. What kind of situation would require Snape to be included? Didn’t his dad and Snape hate each other in school? That’s what Professor Lupin and Sirius had said, though Sirius seemed to still hate the man for whatever reason. He doubted he and Malfoy would be that bad when they would be that old, though admittedly Sirius had spent over a decade in prison for something he didn’t do while Snape, an actual Death Eater got off scott free.

A chill went down his spine causing his body to quiver uncontrollably for a moment. What was Snape doing here anyways? Who sent him? Was he here for Dumbledore, or had Voldemort sent him? Was Snape here to kill him?

“Potter, how long have you been having those twitches?” Snape said, a tinge of worry evident in his voice. Something about the boy’s twitches seemed oddly familiar; as though he had been subjected to the Cruciatus curse. Having just been subject to the curse himself just hours previous and having had similar nervous twitches until he was able to access his potions stores, he couldn’t help but notice the similarity in presentation.

“S-s-s-since the thir-rd t-t-t-ask,” Harry mumbled, shifting uncomfortably. “Why are y-y-you her-re?”

“Shit,” Severus swore loudly before quickly dropping his voice once more to not draw Nurse Morgan’s attention. “Were you at any time put under the Cruciatus during that… debacle?”

Harry frowned. He had, but not for very long. It had only been a few seconds at best, but not long enough to cause much damage. True, he had been sore for a while, but the twitching hadn’t really started until after he had gotten home and the nightmares began. It was always so much worse after a nightmare with Voldemort, and it got worse when someone in the nightmare had gotten hit by the curse. But those were nightmares, right?

“Answer the question, Potter!” Severus said, resisting the urge to snap in front of the boy’s face when he zoned out momentarily.

“Y-yeah,” Harry finally said, frown still on his face.

“How long were you under the spell?” Severus demanded, his face turning rather pale and sickly looking. “Under a minute? Several minutes? How long?!”

Harry blinked at the man’s insistence for details. It was almost as though he cared, though why would he? What did it matter? It was only a few seconds at worst. True it had hurt terribly, but why would Snape be so concerned? The twitching hadn’t been this bad at the time! And he didn’t have a seizure until he got home for the summer.

“Potter, answer me!” Severus said, tapping the boy’s hand and watching in dismay as an involuntary tremor raced through his arm.

“S-s-s-seconds? I d-d-d-don’t know-w?!” Harry said in confusion, his stutter worsening at the stress of trying to answer quickly.

“Did you not tell anyone that you were cursed?” Severus snapped before standing and beginning to pace.

“T-t-t-tried-d,” Harry said, frowning. “M-mad-dam P-p-p-p-pomfrey gave m-me a p-p-p-potion that-t help-p-p-ped for a wh-while. ‘S that-t wh-why I’m-m here? W-was it p-p-p-p...”

“No, Potter. You weren’t poisoned,” Severus said, continuing to pace and tap his lips with his finger. He needed to focus; he hadn’t done this level of arithmancy and elixir modification for potions work since his mastery years ago. If Lily had began taking the potion to alter her child’s magical signature and physical appearance when the fetus was only three months into gestation, she would have had to have to have used less than half the amount of boomslang skin in order to allow the fetus to accept the physical changes it was going to be undergoing. But how much exactly?

“S-sir? Wh-where’s Madam-m P-p-p-pomfrey?” Harry asked, looking around in concern.

“She is likely on holiday as it is summer,” Severus said testily. When would the potion have begun wearing off? Could it have possibly begun so far before the boy’s birthday that it would have been affected by the Cruciatus, or would the moonstone in the potion have counteracted the neuroplasticity effects of the skink tongue? There was really no way to know how long each batch of potion was brewed for, though knowing Lily, she would have followed the instructions to the letter. But if she had been the one brewing, the fumes could have affected the efficacy of the potion.

He needed something to write on.

“Wh-where are you g-g-going?” Harry asked as Severus turned abruptly and walked out of the door. “Wh-what’s g-going on?”

Turning back slightly, Severus looked at the boy in the bed and was shocked once again to see how much of himself he saw in the boy. This truly was not the son of James and Lily Potter, but the son of Lily Evans and Severus Snape. None of this should have happened to the boy, yet here he was, in a muggle hospital bed, confused, and attached to many machines which monitored his well being. “I apologize, Mr. Potter. I need to return to my home so that I may work towards finding you a cure. I shall return tomorrow to assess your wellbeing. Please attempt to get some rest and refrain from your normal late-night shenanigans.”

Walking out of the room and briefly bidding Nurse Morgan farewell, he quickly walked for the elevator determined to get out of this horrible muggle building as soon as possible. He had a new mission to complete, one of far more importance than anything Dumbledore or the Dark Lord could give him. Lily’s child had been tortured and was continuing to suffer the effects.

The boy in the bed was not Harry Potter. He could not see him as Harry Potter, there was no Potter in him. He was a confused, injured, and ill child. A child he was now, at least in the eyes of the muggle world, in charge of. He needed to get him out of there and into a proper facility, one capable of dealing with even mild magical discharge. But first, he needed to know the damage done to the boy’s system.

He needed to save his son.
To be continued...

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